Sunday, November 2, 2014

Meet Ross Barber, Web Designer for Bands and Musicians

Ross Barber is a web designer who specializes in design for bands and musicians. With his company Electric Kiwi, he has worked with many independent and unsigned artists to enhance their online presence.

1. What inspired you to create a web design and marketing firm specifically geared toward the music industry?

I've always loved music, and studied BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance at university. I started my course with the idea of becoming a professional singer/songwriter; however, as I progressed, I found I was becoming more interested in the promotion and marketing side of the industry. I had been designing websites since I was around 12 years old, and it made sense to me to combine the two things that I loved: web design and music. From there, Electric Kiwi was born!

2. What do you see as some specific/unique needs for music artists when it comes to building a website?

I create completely custom websites for each musician, as I think everyone's needs are different. However, I'd say that every musician's website should have the following sections: a way for people to listen to/buy your music, a way for people to contact you (you'd be surprised how many artist websites DON'T have contact information), a news section so people can see that you're still active, show listings (if you play live), and a design that reflects who YOU are as an artist.

3. In addition to having a great website, what else do people need to do to get noticed online in the music world--both by industry professionals and by fans/listeners?

I think with everyone being so easily connected via social media, fans and listeners expect artists to be available and want to connect with them on a personal level. For this reason, I think it's so important for artists to be engaging with their audience on social media. Of course, good music comes first, but you can't underestimate the power of building relationships and connections with your fans and industry professionals--it can make a huge difference.

4. I've often read the advice that with social media and online marketing, it's good for an indie artist to choose one network and commit to posting there rather than trying to "do everything" with social media. What are your thoughts on this?

I agree. There's a lot of overwhelm, especially for artists who are still in the DIY phase of their career. It can be tempting to be everywhere all at once, but ultimately, something is going to slip when you're spreading yourself so thin. It's good to have a presence on all of the major social platforms, but the main thing to bear in mind is where your audience is, and also what platform you enjoy using the most. My suggestion would be to be active on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube (if these are relevant to your music and fanbase), but to also have profiles set up on the other platforms so people can find you there.

5. Would you tell us about your new podcast interview series and what listeners can expect to hear?

Absolutely! I've just launched a new podcast show with my friend Marcio Novelli, called Bridge The Atlantic. We interview musicians and creative professionals about their careers. We're aiming for a balance between entertainment and education, so we try to keep it lighthearted and fun, a little more like a TV talk show than most other music business podcasts. We're on YouTube and iTunes, but the best starting point would be our website:

Thanks, Ross!

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